Maui Whole Foods is Almost Open – Highlights Here

Whole Foods Market

70 Kaahumanu Avenue
Kahului, HI 96732
808-872-3310
Find our Mauitime Dining Guide Listing Info Here

Whole Foods Market is coming to the Maui Mall, with its Grand Opening announcement and commencement on Wednesday, February 24, 2010. I have been titillated by the prospect of perusing the aisles and shelves of the Whole Foods market, despite my undying support for the smaller locally owned and operated health food stores. I have been peering in the windows since they took the construction privacy wall down, extrapolating ideas and imagining products on their shelves. Then today I did a media tour of the pre-opened space, getting a sneak preview of the 26,000 square foot space, getting the personal touch from Whole Foods Kahului Store Team Leader Ray Stockton, Elyse Ditzel, Marketing Supervisor, and Claire Sullivan, the vendor and community relations coordinator.

Whole Foods Elyse Ditzel

Whole Foods Market's Elyse Ditzel, Marketing Supervisor, explaining the excitement for the murals painted in the store by Lanakila Kelliher. (Claire and Chandler in background), Currently standing in the produce section

Claire Sullivan, community relations, Elyse Ditzel, and Team Leader Ray Stockton talk about the whole body section

I have to admit I have been a little intimidated by the rumors flying around about “Whole Paycheck.” If you are not in the know that is the Urban Dictionary’s term linked to Whole Foods. But if you look at the content it is sprinkled with folks talking about how they like the products therefore spend the money. I also notice lots more thumbs up than thumbs down…..

. whole paycheck 1135 up, 810 down love it hate it
September 24, 2007 Urban Word of the Day
A nickname for Whole Foods Market, the now-famous purveyor of (rather high-priced) organic and fresh foods and sundries.
i’m headed to Whole Paycheck to pick up a dozen organic, cage-free, range-free, vegetarian-fed eggs and some sustainably farmed, sprouted quinoa; good thing i just completed that second mortgage.
2. whole paycheck 5 up, 1 down love it hate it
it is so expensive to go to whole foods, i just call it whole paycheck
i think i’ll stop at whole paycheck for some samples.
3. Whole Paycheck 7 up, 3 down love it hate it
Just another way of saying “Whole Foods”

Have you tried the new flavored cottage cheese cups? You can find them at Whole Paycheck.

or

“Whole Paycheck” has the greatest selection of gluten-free products!

I found this article by thebigmoney.com by Caitlinn Devitt that shows how Whole Foods is trying to buck that nickname and change their ways to serve their market

As of last July, one-fifth of shoppers surveyed by research firm Retail Forward said that they had already switched grocery stores to save money. Whole Foods’ reputation as an expensive place to shop—it’s been nicknamed “Whole Paycheck”—made it especially vulnerable to losing its customers. Instead of hunkering down and holding out for the economy to recover, Whole Foods began to experiment with ways of convincing America that it was, in fact, an affordable place to shop, without actually slashing prices storewide.”Of course, we realized that everyone was trying to save money,” Whole Foods spokeswoman Libba Letton says. To make sure those budget-conscious customers didn’t write off Whole Foods, the retailer ramped up the marketing of its promotions through newsletters, coupons, and the Whole Foods Web site. “About a year ago, we launched a campaign to make our customers aware of the value that there was in the stores,” she says. The “values” Whole Foods has been hawking—unlike the “everyday low prices” of a discount retailer like Wal-Mart (WMT)—are mostly sales on items that vary from week to week. “We would rather invest in a strong promotion where people are clearly getting a value than, say, just trying to drop prices, everyday price here or there,” Gallo said in the May conference call.

Pricing had not yet been revealed on products so we will just have to see when they open on Wednesday. But the cool thing is they are already aware of how expensive living on Maui is so they will have to work around the issue. Elyse Ditzel did mention that they have a value tour (first one is Sunday, February 28) at the store to help folks identify the greater value items and how to shop at the Whole Foods Market despite being on a budget. The series will continue so don’t worry if you miss that one they will be doing them Tuesdays (early and late) and Saturdays.

parmesan at whole foods

This fresh parm is going to be cracked open and sampled on Feb. 27th

Their community outreach is extensive. Community relations are handled by Claire Sullivan who reports they will be working with more than 60 Maui producers of good of one sort or another from produce to prepared foods to tea. They have also hired 105 Maui people to join their team of 140. One of the team members, Chandler, will be doing weekly nutritional tours in their Health Starts Here program and consultations.

The list of Maui Producers

With lots of buzz words flying around like local, sustainable, quality standards, marine stewardships and seals of quality, it gets hard to skim off the fat and get down to business. Obviously Whole Foods wants you to have a good shopping experience without bogging you down with all of the labels and signage, but then they also want to be very transparent with what you are buying, that way you as a consumer get to make the all important choice to support with your dollar. They have a tour for that too. Just check in with their customer service desk for your educational tour of the store. If you want to forget all the educational stuff and just get down to getting the free giveaways and grand opening shwag then check out my grand opening and all other listings here. They have one day they are giving away gift cards, another free coffee, another free shopping bag, they have lots of incentives and gifts to welcome their new shoppers.

scones whole foods market

No Way! Prepared dough bake and go cranberry and blueberry scones!

I am really excited about the art show that they are going to have up at the store. Artist Lanakila Kelliher is a past Baldwin High School grad that has teamed up with Hawaii Community Foundation to work on some very progressive arts community support with Whole Foods Market as the connector. She is also very busy painting all of the murals inside of the store from the area over the produce section, to the giant mural in next to the tables in the prepared food area, and designing the artwork on their wholefoods reusable bag. Her enthusiasm for the project is infectious and her gratitude for having the position is refreshing. What I am most struck by is the beauty of her work and I am really glad that she was chosen. Kelliher is going to be running an annual student art show and scholarship among other hanging and showings that will benefit Maui artists. March 5th will be the first reception for the first show.

HAWAII NEWS NOW coverage on Lanikila Kelliher joining Whole Foods Kahului.

Lanakila Kelliher in front of her mural

This is the WALL at Whole Foods. (A better look at the awesome mural)

There certainly are grand plans and grand openings but at the end of the day there is food being sold here and that is what I am interested in. The store has a produce & dairy  section, seafood, meats, deli, a prepared foods section that includes sushi, pizza, sandwiches, a coffee and juice bar. There is going to be so much opportunity for the exchange of fabulous delicious high quality food. Food that we cook at home, snacks we pick up for the kids, prepared meals that we get in the store. Plus lots of events, tastings, vendor gatherings and sampling. Yum!

Cheese Anyone?

Free trade coffee and pastries will be served here

Whole Foods Market Kahului on Urbanspoon

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